My son, Corey, is 22 now. I love this guy more than I love anything. (Well except for my two daughters, who are tied for first place).
He's a lot like me, yet, in a wonderful way, he's a lot different than me. This is what I love about him.
He has a mind of his own. He makes decisions. He's going to grow up (oh wait, he already did)...to be anything he wants to be.
He kept me strong when I was weak.
HE'S MY HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The biggest thing that we do have in common is our love for baseball.
It's our common bond.
As a parent, sometimes it's tough to talk to your boy. I'm 47. He's 22.
What do I know?
But, whenever we need to find common turf, we talk baseball.
Not steroids, salaries, attendance records, agents, and that kind of stuff.
Not Bonds, Canseco, Sosa, McGwire, Manny, A-Rod, or even Joe Torre's book.
We talk baseball.
My greatest day as a Dad was taking Cor to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We were never closer. We talked baseball. We hit in the batting cage. We talked records.
We never said the word asterisk one single time. We went for lunch outside and had burgers and dogs.
Our favorite movies are The Natural and Field of Dreams.
We plan to sit down this summer after he graduates from college and watch the entire series on baseball done by Ken Burns. http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/baseball/
Last year, Corey and I went to watch real baseball. We spent a whopping $38 for the day and watched Minor League ball. That's real baseball. From the top of the roster to the bottom, it's filled with heroes—kids who play because it's their dream.
Oh sure, we know that their ultimate goal is to make money. Some of them probably even juice.
But in our world, they are pristine and pure. They hustle out every ground ball. They chew tobacco and ride buses to games.
They love the smell of the field and the feel of the glove.
They love the sound that the ball makes when it connects with the bat.
This isn't an infomercial but check out http://www.theroadtotheshow.com/
It's awesome. Larry Richards is my friend. He too is passionate about baseball.
What Corey and every kid, from four to 84, need right now, is a hero—someone to come along and throw baseball on their back—not A-Rod, or Manny, or any of those other greedy bastards.
They need someone who loves the game like Corey does and plays it right because they are passionate about the game.
If Corey or I could hit a curve ball or throw from deep right to home plate, we'd sign contracts right now.
The contract would be for $0 dollars.
We'd play just for the heck of it—not because we want fame and fortune, but because we love the sport and we love kids.
We have respect for Joltin' Joe and the Babe.
We know Cy Young pitched all nine innings, Lou Gehrig never missed a game, and Willie Mays was the GREATEST right-handed hitter to ever walk the planet.
Hank Aaron would be our eternal Home Run King and Jackie Robinson would be the most influential human being in every history book.
Wee Willie Keeler would always hit 'em where they ain't, and Ted Williams would leave the sport he loved to fight for his country...
I'm babbling aimlessly.
This happens to me when you hurt my kid—the kid inside of me.
I pledge from this point on to never write another story that does anything but endorse baseball in all its perfection.
Ninety feet from home to first, run hard...
Real Baseball is:
Players who know the fundamentals of the sport.
Little League players who are really 12 and under.
Minor League ball.
Roy Hobbs, Ray Kinsella, Terrance Mann, Archibald Moonlight Graham, and Corey Civin.
My heroes of baseball...
My heroes of life.